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3. Front yards
Front yards are not made to walk in, but, at most, through, and you could go in the back way.
- Henry David Thoreau
Private property is highly regulated by local governments. We have heard about graffiti and the obligations that owners have to remove it. But, what about front yards, a space attached to your home where you get to reflect your lifestyle and preferences?
- You might need a permit to plant a tree
- Once there, make sure you maintain trees and hedges to avoid overgrowth and ensure visibility
- Ensure that tree roots are not trespassing on to a neighbour’s yard, or face the potential of chopping (without notice!)
- But, don’t grow vegetables in some front lawns (and someday even your backyard garden may need to be registered)
- Observe restrictions on what can be grown, including native plants and Emerald Ash Borer
- Make sure you have the right to remove a tree, even dead, decayed or damaged ones
- Cut grass and weeds regularly to make sure that they don’t grow higher than permitted (sometimes six inches, sometimes more). If you don’t cut them, the City may do so at your expense, or maybe even invoke more series consequences
- Remove standing water from your property
- Get a license for leaf blowing
- Don’t jump to using those extra plastic bags! Some cities require reusable containers or compostable bags
- Even Santa has rules
- Many cities require permits before building an addition, deck or shed - frankly anything attached to your home (although some people risk it)
- Creative play structures can come under scrutiny
- Some cars can stay, some not, some should just be moved regularly, and sometimes you’ll need a degree to figure out the rules
- There may be no rules for fences, except when there are
- Chicken coops are another contentious topic
- Burial has its own complex set of laws – usually at state and local levels – but check: you may be able to bury your dog or even grandma (in the back, mind you).
- And be careful on garage sales
And the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
- Simon and Garfunkel
Graffiti has long troubled urban governments. While creating graffiti is often criminalized at federal or state levels of government, many municipalities see it as contrary to property standards and an overall blight.
Modern graffiti started in Roman times, but exploded in the United States in the 1960s. Some artists were heavily influenced by graffiti in their younger years, including Keith Haring and Cy Twombly. There continues to be explosive debate as to whether graffiti is transgression, a precursor to violence, a negative force against business, and a form of unfair competition, or an underground art form that beautifies a city, enabling dialogue and inclusion.
Defining graffiti is the first great challenge that cities face. Tags, throw-ups, stencils, wild-style and hip-hop are different styles of graffiti. While their distinctions have long been contemplated by academics and art gurus, cities tend to ignore the classifications, considering the styles above no different than gang and hate when they design their laws.
Cities cite millions of dollars of expenditures as the cost of graffiti, which can include cleaning, hidden cameras, guard dogs, and hotlines. To prevent the act and recover some of these costs, the following approaches have been adopted:
Forcing those who create graffiti to clean it
Setting up a database of images to more easily identify those committing the act
Introducing specific “graffiti walls” where graffiti is permitted (although some suggest that it doesn’t work)
Despite these actions, graffiti continues. This is partly due to the challenges in catching those creating graffiti, but also because of the changes employed in the creation - some have used debris on surfaces to create images, employed technology, and adapted tools such as yarn or surfaces like planters. Keeping up isn’t easy.
There are also mixed messages about the value of the product. Some political leaders really like graffiti, with even the London Olympics planning on a graffiti-based logo. Schools have sanctioned and even encouraged graffiti, both as art and as an educational tool. And, certain graffiti venues are celebrated as essential tourist areas for visitation. Fundamentally, there is no consensus as to whether graffiti is legitimate art or a senseless crime.
1. Street Food
The City attaches an exaggerated importance to the healing power of lunch.
There’s nothing like basic sustenance to ignite the passions and trigger the imagination of City Hall. Between Chin Chin in Nigeria, sinfully divine yams in Beijing and everything in Istanbul, street food nourishes hurried workers and eager tourists, bringing warm and tasty meals in easy-to-consume forms.
Even more, street food informs a city’s culture and history, its priorities and beliefs. Take ice cream trucks: the unmistakable dingle of bells sends swoops of children (and, ahem, adults) onto residential streets, transforming individualized homes into public meeting spaces for a neighbourhood’s residents. New York’s coffee carts fathered the iconic cup that now serves as a physical symbol for the city. Vancouver’s high-end hot dogs with a Japanese twist operationalize multiculturalism in ways that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms couldn’t possibly have predicted.
But, the street food you see dotting most city streets didn’t just happen. It is the result of months of negotiation, drafting and debate inside (and outside) of city halls. Rules on location, advertising, health standards, staffing and food options are but a few of the directives given by city halls. Just in case you are planning to start a food cart biz of your own, here are a few ditties to keep in mind:
- Do successful food carts make the city, or vice versa? Portland, by far one of the best examples of a bustling street eats, has been designed with vibrant urban life in mind. Perhaps it’s social media and other tools that ultimately make the difference. Or even the entrepreneurial spirits of city officials.
- Vancouver Street Eats is a new program introduced by the City of Vancouver. The application sets out what vendors must do to start selling their wares - among them, promoting and improving the sense of place of Vancouver communities. Check out who succeeded here.
- Toronto’s A La Cart program was recently cancelled by the Executive Committee and will head to City Council in May for approval. The goal was diverse cuisine offered in various parts of the city, reflecting Toronto’s multicultural identity. Sounds kind of like Vancouver’s program, so why was it a flop? It seems that A La Cart had even tighter rules than those that must normally be followed by vendors, resulting in a restrictive regulatory system that impeded flexibility.
- Complaints about onerous regulatory regimes are common, including in New York, Louisville and Minneapolis. And don’t even ask representatives in Midvale to weigh in on this contentious issue.
- What’s emerging is the sense that “food cart” is too complex for single sets of regulations. A study of Atlanta’s street food regime, for example, thinks there should be a street food classification system that distinguishes between carts selling goods like ice cream and those selling other foods. Certainly there are differences between food carts and food trucks – and not always happy ones. Who knows what’s in store for the next food movement or which fight will challenge the industry next.
- While the western world may lament heavy regulations, many countries don’t have basic health standards for street food. A concern even more pronounced given how many people rely on some food carts for basic sustenance. After all, city food carts aren’t just for hipsters.
So the next time you devour a hot dog, remember the countless hours spent by city officials wondering which condiments were appropriate to include on the food cart.
Temporary Barriers at LA Office UK!
Here in Britain we are known for our ‘obsession’ with queuing, although other countries also queue, it is Britain who have involved it, (so it seems) in all aspects of social behavior! While queuing we watch like hawks, eagerly remembering, everyone knowing exactly the order of arrival of all of the other crowd members. Isn’t it funny the cross between absolute courteousness and pure rage involved? Queues we can all get our heads around, however the consequences to ‘jumping’ the queue, well it doesn’t bare thinking about. Sometimes they’re not an orderly line, instead a mass of people, and in this scenario, when it’s the next persons ‘turn’ at the counter, bus or reception, you signal permission for the person who arrived first to take their turn and step back slightly. How complicated we are us British folk. However we are not all courteous and jumping a queue will only cause utter mayhem! This is why we highly recommend the use of Flexible Barriers, especially in more formal situations such as banks, post offices and entrances into clubs, theatres and such like.
At LA Office we have a great selection of movable barriers; these popular and
contemporary Alba Flexibarriers are just great for any crowd, whether formal and sophisticated or rowdy and vigorous.
- Satin stainless steel
- Heavy cast base and neoprene base pads for stability
- One flexibarrier supplied: one upright with 3000mm tape.
- Barrier extends to 3000mm
- 1000mm height
- 340mm base
- Weight: 13kg
We have a great selection of queue management products from brands such as Alba, Ease-E-Load and Rubbermaid all designed and manufactured to the highest standard. However Alba, the manufacturers of the featured flexibarrier boast many values such as outstanding quality, unbeatable value and fantastic environmental credentials too. So if you’re looking to set up your own queuing system for your premises, whatever that might be, you’ve come to the right place.